November 27, 2019
A new study adds to the growing evidence linking vitamin E acetate to the surge of vaping-related lung injuries.
Researchers at the Minnesota Department of Health examined 20 illegal THC vaping products seized in September and similar vaping products provided by 11 patients who experienced a vaping illness or injury. They compared those cartridges to 10 illegal THC vaping cartridges produced before the outbreak began earlier this year.
The 20 cartridges seized this fall, as well as those submitted by patients, all contained vitamin E acetate, researchers. But the 10 pre-outbreak ones did not.
Vitamin E acetate is a synthetic form of vitamin E found in some vaping products. It has become a common thickener in vaping liquids containing THC, the psychoactive chemical agent in marijuana.
"The findings further support a potential role for vitamin E acetate in causing lung injury associated with vaping products," Dr. Ruth Lynfield, a Minnesota health official told the Associated Press.
Since March, about 2,290 people have become ill and at least 47 people have died after using a vaping product. There are deaths still under investigation.
Though based on a small sampling, the new data supports earlier findings from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which found vitamin E acetate in the lung fluid of 29 patients with a vaping-related illness or injury, a condition now referred to as EVALI. Almost all of the patients said they used a vaping product containing THC.
The researchers caution that it is too soon to completely rule out other possible culprits for the outbreak of EVALI. Vitamin E acetate is also used in food, dietary supplements and skin care lotions. There are no reports of illness or injury related to those products.